Thanks to everyone who responded to my initial sally on dreams and
machines. Naturally I have arrogated the right to plagiarise your
helpful comments in what follows, which is an aphoristic synthesis of
my understanding of the main points that have emerged thus far. I
hope this will be helpful for future discussion.
We do not see the mind, we see *through* the mind.
What we see through the mind - its contents - is mind-stuff: dreams.
Hence dream content - i.e. whatever is capable of being present to us
- can't be our ontology - this would be circular (the eye can't see
So the brain (i.e. what the eye can see) can't be the mind; but the
intuition remains that mind and brain might be correlated by some
inclusive conception that would constitute our ontology: Kant's great
It is similarly obvious that 'identity' theories and the like are
non-sense: it would indeed be hard to think of two descriptions less
'identical' than brain-descriptions and mind-descriptions: hence
again, any such identification could only be via some singular
Hence any claim that the mind is literally identical with, or
'inside', the brain can be shown to be false by the simple - if messy
- expedient of a scalpel; or else can be unmasked as implicitly
dualistic: i.e. the claim is really that 'inside' and 'outside' are
not merely different descriptions, but different ontologies.
By extension of our individual introspecting, a plurality of minds,
and the 'external world' that includes brains, can be conceived as
correlated in some way - to be elucidated - in a universal synthesis
or context: that context being our mutual ontology.
Such a universal context, or in common terms 'what exists', cannot be
fully known (i.e. can't be exhausted by description) although - or
rather because - it constitutes what we are, and by extension what
Nonetheless we may seek a logic of dreaming so far as it goes, and
this will indeed be as far as anything goes in the way of knowledge
Mathematics may be deployed as a dream-logic: but mathematical
physics, restricted to 'physical heuristics', prototypically gets
stuck at the level of describing the content and behaviour of dreams,
not their genesis.
To go further and deeper we need an explicit mathematical
specification of dreamers and their dreams, and of generative
mechanisms by which dreamers and their dream contents can be
Such a schema will by its nature form an analysis of how we come to
believe that we and our world are real, and in what terms: i.e. how we
come to know a world in a present and personal manner.
Consequently such a schema must subsume within its universe of
discourse: being, knowing, perceiving, acting and intending - as the
foundations of what it means to be real: i.e. it must be capable of
invoking the Cheshire Cat *to the life*, not merely leave its grin
hanging in the void.
Moving beyond bare analysis and description, any move to universalise
and 'realise' the axioms of such a schema is to make a claim on
ontological finality. It has not been completely clear (to me)
whether COMP necessarily makes such a stipulation on realisation, in
the sense of a claim that its axioms *literally are* what is present
and personal (i.e. RITSIAR).
However I'm coming to suspect that it does not in fact make such a
claim, although it allows any one of us to take this as a personal
leap of faith, specifically through the acid test of saying yes to the
COMP may turn out to be false in its specific predictions - i.e. empirical tests
could rule out the possibility of our being finite machines; or
perhaps we can never be sure one way or the other.
Nonetheless, the inescapable implication is that any alternative
schema must from the outset explicitly and fearlessly address the same
problem space or else run foul of the same intractable 0-1-3 person
ontological and epistemological issues.
This has profound implications for virtually all current cosmological
TOEs: i.e. a view from nowhere turns out to be nobody's view. As has
been observed in other writings, our understanding remains profoundly
obscured and distorted unless we restore the personal to the view from
nowhere. Only then can we conceive why indeed there is somewhere
rather than nowhere.
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